LAS VEGAS. The first two fights between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin were classics and featured two of the greatest fighters of their era competing for huge stakes.
Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in their third meeting was nothing of the sort. Golovkin, 40, looked far from the superstar he was in 2017 and 2018, losing to Alvarez via unanimous decision in the battle for Alvarez’s undisputed super middleweight title.
The judges oddly scored him close: 115-113 twice and 116-112 for Alvarez. The only way Golovkin won four or five rounds was to score a hit. Sportzshala Sports was 120-108 and only saw one round that could reasonably be considered for Golovkin.
Golovkin’s attempt at revenge turned into a beating of a sworn rival. Alvarez was still at the top of his game, but Golovkin looked like an old, faded fighter who couldn’t fend off his punches.
In 2017, Alvarez and Golovkin fought to a draw. In 2018, the fight was closer and Alvarez won by controversial decision.
But Alvarez went out to smoke, throwing heavy punches at Golovkin in an apparent attempt to finish him off, as he said he would do throughout the training. Only Golovkin’s legendaryly strong chin saved him from the first fall or finish in his career.
Alvarez, who was defeated in May in a light heavyweight title fight by Dmitry Bivol, had a smart, aggressive and controlled fight. He could risk home runs, which he couldn’t in his first two fights, because Golovkin’s pace on Saturday was far from what he was back then.
Fans got their money’s worth in those first two fights, but not much on Saturday, unless someone likes watching a young fighter beat the pitch out of a classy but far-reaching fighter.
During preparation, Alvarez said that he did not like Golovkin because Golovkin spoke so badly of him. But when the beating finally ended, they hugged in the middle of the ring and talked for a few seconds before the ring filled up.
This ended a long and bitter rivalry between the two greatest players of their time. Golovkin is 44-0 against everyone else, but 0-2-1 against Alvarez.
Alvarez looked like the guy who beat Caleb Plant last year to not only win the undisputed super-middleweight title, but also become No. 1 in the world. He didn’t look like this in May when Bivol outplayed him, but on Saturday he proved his position convincingly.
Golovkin offered little other than a big heart and a good chin. But he certainly wasn’t dangerous and didn’t seem like a threat to win.